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New York TeacherOctober 6, 2016

Volume LVIII, Number 2

Cover Stories

UFT targets missing curriculum, excessive paperwork

The UFT is intent this year on enforcing a pair of key provisions from the 2014 contract: to reduce excessive paperwork and to make sure the Department of Education provides all educators in core subjects with appropriate curriculum.

That was the message from UFT President Michael Mulgrew when he met with chapter leaders at the annual citywide chapter leader meeting in Shanker Hall on Sept. 14 to discuss goals for the new school year.

“We are taking direct aim at resolving the paperwork and curriculum issues,” he said.

After going through a checklist of tasks the school-based union reps needed to review as the year got underway, Mulgrew told them the UFT is determined “to set a new tone in every building. We have to be sure that members…

Donald Trump makes a very big point.

Trump in his own words

Where does Donald Trump stand on education and labor? While it’s difficult to nail down the Republican candidate for president on actual policy, he has been explicit in championing free-market competition for public education and in expressing his antipathy for teacher unions.

Success specializes in empty seats

Success Acadmy founder Eva Moskowitz demands more public school classroom space, yet a review of public records by the UFT indicates hundreds of seats at her schools remain empty every year as kids leave -- or are pushed out -- and are not replaced.

Latest News

Jessica Esteves, a new teacher at PS 160 in the Bronx, asks a question at a work

New teachers get early start

The final week of summer was also the first week of their careers for more than a thousand teachers who participated in New Teacher Week from Aug. 29 to Sept. 2. For the second year, the UFT and the city DOE collaborated to organize the event.

State Sen. Gustavo Rivera

Union choices take key Democratic primaries

In the Sept. 13 Democratic primaries, public school advocates backed by the UFT and NYSUT helped defeat a half-dozen challengers who had the financial backing of a super PAC promoting privatization and other schemes that siphon funding from public schools and harm working families.

It takes a community

The UFT’s Community Learning Schools Initiative is reporting academic gains with the schools that have been part of the four-year-old initiative the longest showing the most improvement. The Community Health Academy of the Heights in Manhattan is a prime example.

Adrian Brooks, NYC public school teacher

'Rock steady' is theme of new ad

The UFT on Sept. 23 launched a new TV ad celebrating the dedication and commitment of New York City educators. The ad, which aired on major broadcast and cable stations in the metropolitan New York area, points out that in these turbulent times, public school educators stay rock steady, forming the bedrock of school communities and helping students achieve success now and throughout their lives.

‘Crucial time’ to march

The heat and humidity were intense during the Labor Day Parade on Sept. 10, but no more so than the emotions surfacing from the sea of blue and white umbrellas carried up Fifth Avenue by hundreds of UFT members. “Now, more than ever, unions have to show who they are,” said David Mahl, an art teacher at James Madison HS in Brooklyn.

Feature Stories

Inquiring minds want to learn - Precious Knowledge film (crop)

Inquiring minds want to learn

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Arizona is geographically — and culturally — far from New York City. But when the 8th-graders in Alex Corbitt’s Teen Activism class watch a documentary called “Precious Knowledge,” about Tucson HS students fighting for the right to study their Mexican heritage, it resonates deeply. Many of Corbitt’s students at the Bronx School of Science Inquiry and Investigation/MS 331 in Morris Heights are from the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico or Ecuador, and they have plenty to say on the topic.

“We can learn about both American and Latino history, past and present,” says Destiny.

Pedro is bothered by an Arizona legislator in the film who calls the Latino studies program seditious and anti-American. “He said it’s anti-American, but isn’t it more American to fight for what you believe in?” Pedro asks.

It’s a good question. And for Corbitt,…

Annette Pineda, kindergarten teacher, PS/MS 31, Melrose, the Bronx

3 educators, One Opening Day

How 3 educators set the groundwork for another successful school year.
Stephen and Laurie McCarthy arrive at PS 8 in Brooklyn Heights with their 1st-gr

Back to school

Some wore ear-to-ear smiles, hugging friends and teachers and sharing stories of summer adventures. freedom from homework and brown-bag lunches. Some laughed, others cried. Some were waiting as the doors swung open and others barely cleared the threshold before the late bell. 

Member Spotlight

What I Do
Dalmarie Jones

What I do: Dalmarie Jones, residential specialist for United Cerebral Palsy of NYC

Dalmarie Jones and 700 other UFT members employed by United Cerebral Palsy of NYC work round the clock with cognitively and physically challenged children and adults, teaching skills to help them lead independent and quality lives.

Around the UFT

McFadden wheels around the gym with students.

Paralympic medalist vists PS 333, Manhattan

Wearing four gold medals from the Rio Paralympics around her neck, wheelchair athlete Tatyana McFadden helped get students rolling at PS 333 on the Upper West Side on Sept. 20.

Cacciola-Price is delighted at his new title: excellent teacher.

Empire State Excellence in Teaching Awards

Six New York City teachers have been named winners of the first annual Empire State Excellence in Teaching Awards.

Students joined LIU Brooklyn faculty members on Sept. 14 to protest the lockout

LIU faculty ‘blindsided’ by ‘terrifying’ lockout

At midnight on Sept. 2, at the start of the Labor Day weekend, about 400 faculty members at Long Island University Brooklyn were locked out of school with three days left in their contract negotiations.

UFT members are ready for the march down Eastern Parkway.

West Indian Day Parade

For more than a decade, UFT members have been part of the glitter and glamour of the West Indian Day Carnival and Parade that celebrates the rich culture and traditions of the Caribbean annually on Labor Day.

It’s a happy reunion for (from left) Dalilah Muhammad, DeVore and Stevens.

Olympians return to Cardozo HS, Queens

Dalilah Muhammad traveled from the world stage of the Olympics to the stage of her former high school auditorium as more than 600 staff and students welcomed the Olympic gold medalist and her track-and-field teammate Deajah Stevens home to Cardozo HS in Bayside, Queens.

More in Around the UFT

You Should Know

Secure Your Future
Piggy Bank

A great way to save: Tax-Deferred Annuity

The third week in October is National Save for Retirement Week. Congress began this effort in 2006 to raise awareness about the importance of retirement savings.


President's Perspective
Michael Mulgrew listing image Headshot

Curbing excessive paperwork

When we hear a constant drumroll of complaints about a persistent obstacle, we take it seriously. And paperwork is the No. 1 complaint our members have about their workday.

UFT Vice President Rich Mantell (right) joins Guidance Counselors Chapter Leader

When knowledge is power

The key to knowing the difference between a gripe and a grievance is an understanding of our collective-bargaining agreements. It is only then that we truly know our rights.

UFT Vice President for Academic High Schools Janella Hinds (left) and NYSUT Pres

Lockout lessons

Unions protect the rights of their workers when it comes to professional issues, salary and benefits. But they also protect their members’ most basic rights. For anyone who doubted that, the lockout of the faculty at Long Island University in Brooklyn over the Labor Day weekend made it crystal clear.

Special education classroom

The moral of the story

Success Academy is calling it “a moral imperative” to double student enrollment in charter schools, from 100,000 to 200,000 students.

Editorial Cartoons

Teaching Resources

Learning Curve

Making homework more productive

What should homework look like? How long should it take? Should it even exist at all?

Research shows

School readiness gap narrows

Against a backdrop of widening income inequality and growing disparities in parental spending on children, the gap in academic readiness between kindergarteners from high- and low-income families has surprisingly declined, according to new research.

Teacher to Teacher

Student-created rubrics

Rubrics that students create themselves are a great way for students to take ownership of their work and have a clear understanding of assessment criteria.

Building Your Career

Building Your Career

'Work this week' folder

I place extra copies of all worksheets, handouts and homework in the folder for the corresponding day.

New Teacher Articles

Tips for building the parent-teacher connection

Now that September is over, you may find yourself taking a deep breath as you prepare to dive into the rest of the school year. With parent-teacher conferences approaching in late October and early November, take some time this month to think about the ways you’ll keep your students’ families informed and engaged throughout the year.

Retired Teachers News

It’s almost decision time

The AFT and the AFL-CIO recommend that you cast your ballot for Hillary Clinton for president.

Enjoying retirement

Retirees in the Nassau section enjoyed themselves at their annual “Not Back to School” Luncheon. Gerri Herskowitz, the UFT director of Retiree Programs, thanked the Nassau retirees for their generosity in donating $1,059 for the Making Strides Walk Against Breast Cancer fund.